Update: Last week I described some exercises for lower back health that I received from Dr. Kim Gardiner, the educational director of the Spine Treatment and Rehabilitation center at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Since 80 percent of all people will have a spine problem sometime during their life, I thought these exercises would be important for all of us. I have already explained how to do the 1. pelvic tilt, 2. hip lift, 3. partial curl up, 4. straight leg raise and 5. elbow/arm press. Today, I will describe some guidelines for healthy back care in terms of your daily life.
6. Back arch. From a crawling position (knees and hands on floor, back straight), lift your back upward by tightening your abdominal and buttock muscles. Allow your head to drop slightly, keeping hands and knees still. Hold for a count of five and return to starting position. Repeat five times.7. Back release. From the same crawling position described above, allow your stomach and the muscles of your buttocks to relax and let your back sag toward the floor. Be sure to keep your weight evenly distributed (don't sit back on your hips) and hold for a count of five. Return to starting position and repeat five times.
8. Lower back rotation. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms outstretched. Allow your knees to drop to one side while rotating your head to the other. Hold for five seconds and repeat five times. Then, switch sides and repeat the cycle.
Understanding positions or movements that increase the load on your spine can help you avoid unusual stresses on the lower back. To avoid unusual stress:
1. Keep close to your work. Lifting or handling objects away from your center of gravity (around the navel) can increase the stress on your spine by as much as 1,000 percent.
2. Don't twist while lifting. Twisting adds pressure to the spine and may cause added disc damage and excessive strain to other back structures.
3. Never jerk. Sudden maneuvers may also injure the spine. Grasp an object firmly and lift slowly. If the object is too heavy, get help.
4. Let other muscles help. Sliding objects close to your body with your arms, lifting objects with your legs, and holding your pelvis stable with your stomach and buttocks can shift some stress from your back to other parts of your body to make activities more comfortable.
5. Try to change positions frequently. If possible, do not sit for longer than 45 minutes without getting up or shifting to another position. Use a back support when sitting or driving. If standing, elevate a foot on a stool, box or shelf. Use your hand or forearm to lean on when doing such activities as brushing teeth, applying makeup or loading the dishwasher.